Volume 22 Issue 15

Remembering my baptism

Maya Morton Ninomiya was baptized in the Saugeen River at Riverstone Retreat Centre near Durham, Ont., in June 2016, by Wendy Janzen and Kevin Derksen, pastors at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church. (Photo by Marcia Shantz)

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Kevin Derksen

I was baptized on an Easter Sunday morning, in the midst of a beautiful service celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. By the first rays of morning light, we greeted each other with the familiar refrain, “He is risen!” and “He is risen indeed!” We sang the big, old Easter hymns.

Home children

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Photo: MCC Ontario/Mennonite Archives of Ontario

George Bryant (standing) was a long way from the home of his birth when he posed with the Katie and Christian Bender family in about 1917. George was a British home child who arrived from Liverpool in 1907 and was sent to Stratford, Ont., for “distribution” to a local family. He believed his mother had died, but as an adult he discovered she was alive.

Creole-speaking congregation joins MCEC

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Pastor Westerne Joseph (facing the camera) sits with members of the Assemblée de la Grâce congregation at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual church gathering April 27 and 28, 2018. Assemblée de la Grâce was accepted as an emerging congregation during the gathering. (Photos by Dave Rogalsky)

Westerne Joseph has been in Canada for ten years. The political situation in Haiti meant that he, his wife and their children had to flee, landing in Canada as refugees. In 2010 they received refugee status, making their home in Montreal, where their children have finished high school and attend university.

Buildings crumble but faith remains

Ibrahim Nseir, pastor of the National Presbyterian Church of Aleppo in Syria, stands at the site where his church building once stood. In 2015 a new building was erected and the church continues to distribute MCC aid, including comforters and kits. (MCC photo by Emily Loewen)

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Rev. Ibrahim Nseir (left) holds an MCC comforter made in Europe, ready to be distributed by the National Presbyterian Church in Syria. (MCC photo by Emily Loewen)

In the old city of Aleppo, Syria, Rev. Ibrahim Nseir stands on the pile of rubble that used to be his church. The building where his congregation once worshipped is now a pile of broken stones and dust.

Mennonites attend Indigenous theological studies symposium

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During an Indigenous theological studies symposium, held in Wolfville, N.S., the presenters sang a traditional Christmas hymn in English while drumming. Many of the audience members sang along. (Photo by Kathy Thiessen)

The 20-or-so Mennonites who attended the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) symposium were humbled by the grace of their hosts who welcomed them, without hesitation, into the conversation.

Edmonton store to contribute to Ten Thousand Villages sustainability plan

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Board members of the Edmonton Ten Thousand Villages store met on June 27 to decide whether to contribute $100,000 toward a TTV sustainability plan. The board includes (from left) Adrienne Wiebe, Alexandra Ketchum, Robert Proudfoot, Helen Mc Cabe, Kurt Sawatzky, Ghenette Houston, Phyllis Schneider. Not pictured: Kari Morton and Irma Stickland. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

On June 27, 2018, supporters of the Edmonton Ten Thousand Villages (TTV) store voted overwhelmingly to grant its board the authority to gift $100,000 to the TTV program of Mennonite Central Committee (Canada), in a one-time attempt at a sustainability plan.

UNDRIP: Good news for everyone

Around 70 people gather to listen to a panel of speakers at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House in Winnipeg. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

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Geraldine ‘Gramma’ Shingoose speaks to those gathered at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House in Winnipeg. Marcus Rempel (left) was part of a panel. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Canada has violated the rights of its Indigenous peoples ever since the country was born, from forcing thousands of children into residential schools to disrespecting treaties and stealing land. In 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and Canada announced its support for the declaration in 2010.

Blooming Positive Project responds to theft

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When ten floral hanging baskets were stolen from the Communitas Supportive Care Society office, the organization responded by creating flowers using materials that were recycled or repurposed. Through creativity, the negative experience was turned into a positive celebration. (Photo courtesy of Communitas Care Society)

In the early summer the staff at Communitas Supportive Care Society arrived at work to discover that someone had stolen the floral hanging baskets from the front of their office building. All ten of them. The discovery was met with anger, outrage, frustration, and disbelief: We should totally do a social media post about this! Who would do such a thing?

Rhubarb runs out

The publication, named so brilliantly for a tough, adaptable plant that ... could grow almost anywhere Mennonites could and was an important part of Mennonite diets in hard times, and was characterized as “hardy but a bit sour”—the “perfect symbol of Mennonite culture” did not survive the winter of 2017-18. (Photo by Will Braun)

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The final issue of Rhubarb magazine

On the edges of Canadian Mennonitism lies a disproportionately rich literary tradition. Or perhaps it lies just beyond the edges of our community. In either case, despite the exceptional accomplishments of Mennonite writers, a magazine that has showcased their work died rather peacefully last fall.

RJC performs Godspell

Kaitlyn Janzen (centre) leads the chorus in “O Bless The Lord.” The disciples and chorus used their own names for their characters in RJC’s production. (Photo by Rosthern Junior College)

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John the Baptist (Nathan Bartel) “baptises” Benjamin Gerwing in the opening sequence, “Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord.” (Photo by Rosthern Junior College)

Every year, as part of homecoming and graduation weekend at Rosthern Junior College, the students present a large-scale musical. This year they performed Godspell by John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz.

Encountering hospitality in rural India

I caught this fish with my own hands! (Photo by Sara Wyngaarden)

I snapped one quick pic before they pulled me into the dance! Some of the men are drumming and singing, ladies are dancing in a line on the right, kids are here, there and everywhere! (Photo by Sara Wyngaarden)

When your feet are dirty, having them washed by others is a humbling experience. (Photo by Sara Wyngaarden)

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The pitcher and basin my hosts used for washing the feet of guests. (Photo by Sara Wyngaarden)

A mud, manure and water mixture is used to make and maintain homes. (Photo by Sara Wyngaarden)

Carrying water on my head. (Photo by Sara Wyngaarden)

Winnowing rice. (Photo by Sara Wyngaarden)

For the past year, Sara Wyngaarden of Elmira, Ont., has been in India, participating in the Serving and Learning Together program (SALT) of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). This reflection originally appeared on her blog.

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